Want a book blurb from Margaret Atwood? Expect a poem instead. Atwood has retired from the blurbing business and now declines in rhyming verse. “But now I am aging; my brain is all shrunk,/And my adjective store is depleted;/My hair’s getting stringy, I walk as though drunk;/ As a quotester I’m nigh-on defeated.” Pair with our essays on the blurbing blunder: a history of blurbs, blurbs as publicity stunts, and the fundamental question — to blurb or not to blurb?
In 1946, George Orwell wrote that political prose was formed “to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”
Haven’t read our own Mark O’Connell’s great new essay at Slate? To mark the hundredth anniversary of Dubliners, Mark paid a visit to the James Joyce House, which led him to reflect on life in his native city. “If you live in Dublin, if you are yourself a Dubliner,” he writes, “no matter how many times you read the book, it will always reveal something profound and essential and unrealized about the city and its people.”
Where did the authors on late night TV go? They’re all on Craig Ferguson’s The Late Late Show. At Esquire, Sean Manning pays tribute to Ferguson’s literary tastes by talking to some of the authors who appeared on his show, including Neil Gaiman, Salman Rushdie, Sloane Crosley, and more.
William Blake may have described its “green and pleasant land” but this week England had traded green for white, as you can see in this NASA photograph (c/o Gizmodo).